Perovskite films and solar cells on PET substrates for space applications: stability study under neutron irradiation
Francesca Brunetti a, Francesca De Rossi a, Matteo Bonomo b, Babak Taheri a, Giacomo Renno b, Vishal Gupta c, Narghes Yaghoobi Nia a, Paolo Rech d, Chris Frost e, Carlo Cazzaniga e, Pierluigi Quagliotto b, Aldo Di Carlo a f, Marco Ottavi c, Claudia Barolo b
a CHOSE, Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, via del Politecnico 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
b Department of Chemistry, NIS Interdepartmental Centre and INSTM Reference Centre, Università degli Studi di Torino, Via G. Quarello 15A, 10135 – Turin, Italy
c Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, via del Politecnico 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
d Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil
e ISIS facility, UKRI-STFC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot OX11 0QX, United Kingdom
f CNR-ISM Istituto di Struttura della Materia, via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Rome, Italy
International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics
Proceedings of International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics (HOPV22)
València, Spain, 2022 May 19th - 25th
Organizers: Pablo Docampo, Eva Unger and Elizabeth Gibson
Invited Speaker, Francesca Brunetti, presentation 186
Publication date: 20th April 2022

Flexible perovskite solar cells (f-PSCs) have recently reached power conversion efficiency (PCE) as high as 20.7% [1]. Although still lagging behind their rigid counterparts on glass, which in very short time have achieved 25.7% of certified efficiency [2],  the use of flexible substrates opens up to a wide range of applications, from sensors for the Internet of Things, to the retrofitting of existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency (building-applied PV), to space, thanks above all to the high power/to weight ratio generated wich is the range of 29.4 W/g compared to 8.31 W/g for amorphous silicon and 0.254 W/g for ultra-thin CdS / CdTe. [3] 

Here we present the synthesis of poly-3-hexylthiophene (P3HT)-derivated HTMs, embodying benzothiadiazole (BDT) moieties as electron-poor host, used as hole transport material (HTM) in f-PSCs. The use of this material led to PCE comparable to commercially available P3HT and showed improved stability under continuous illumination. It was also employed in 6×6 cm2 modules, delivering 6.9% efficiency on 16 cm2 of active area and demonstrating its feasibility for large area manufacture. [4]

Considering f-PSCs great potential for space application, the modified f-PSC were then tested under the effect of fast neutrons (i.e. with energies > 10 MeV) irradiation, which represent one of the most severe forms of radiation at aircraft altitudes, in avionic, and space environments. The stability of unencapsulated flexible perovskite solar cells against fast neutron irradiation was evaluated at two different fluence levels (1.39 × 109 neutrons·cm-2 - almost 80 years of fast neutron exposure on the International Space Station and 1.62 × 1010 neutrons·cm-2 equivalent to 864 years of fast neutron exposure on the International Space Station), comparing commercially available spiro-OMeTAD, commercial P3HT and the in-house modified P3HT. We observed degradation for both materials and at both fluences. 

We observed that modified-P3HT cells experienced smaller voltage and current losses compared to spiro-OMeTAD but the overall performance suffered a much higher drop, as a consequence of a larger decrease in fill factor, ascribable to a sub-optimal perovskite/polymer interface. Nonetheless, spectral response and behavior at different light intensities of modified-P3HT cells suggest the polymer to be potentially more resilient than spiro-OMeTAD under fast neutron irradiation, once the perovskite/polymer will be improved [5].

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